ACTS 2022: Standardized training, certification key to DG safety
This story was originally published July 15, 2022 in Air Cargo Next
Industry-regulated, standardized training and certification are key to safety when handling dangerous goods like lithium batteries, said panelists at the recent Air Cargo Tech Summit 2022 in Miami.
“We can provide additional training. Not just competency-based instructions, but actual training that certifies company XYZ can move [lithium batteries] because they’ve been certified by IATA or the local government,” Julio Sanchez, dangerous goods director manager at DGM Florida, said during the panel.
If human operators don’t know what to look for when dealing with dangerous goods, there’s only so many digitized solutions — such as artificial intelligence — that will be able to perform on their own, Ronald Schaefer, senior principal at IATA said. “It comes back to training,” he said.
Last year, IATA launched a Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) for lithium batteries to complement its pre-existing CEIV certifications for other goods, such as pharmaceuticals. Currently, CEVA Logistics is the only forwarder to hold the certification.
“It would be amazing if everybody would follow some sort of program like this where they can have somebody come in and perform an audit and see if there’s any gaps in training or security,” Sanchez said. “If you think long-term, a citation that you delivered lithium batteries is roughly $55,0000 (USD) per package per day, and that’s if there’s no criminal intent. If they see there’s criminal intent, you can be taken to court.”
However, it’s critical for this kind of regulation to originate from within the industry rather than from the government, IATA’s Schaefer noted.
“Self-regulation might ease the pain,” Schaefer said. “Regulators usually like to see that. That’s one of the win-win [scenarios] for any kind of program and standard that you try to implement.
“Regulators like to see that there’s an initiative by the industry to improve safety [and] to train people. That increases their confidence in our performance, as well,” he added.